Freed Americans thank Minnesota community for support

SHAKOPEE, Minn. (AP) — Three Americans freed from prison in Iran paid a visit to a Minnesota community that was instrumental in lobbying for their release.

The father of one of the three, Al Bauer, hosted a potluck gathering at Jackson Township Hall near Shakopee Sunday. Community members organized the “Free the Hikers” campaign and helped send family members to Washington to push for their release.

Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd were accused of spying and were arrested in Iran while hiking near the Iran-Iraq border in July 2009. Shourd was released in September 2010. Bauer and Fattal were freed last September.

The three thanked the community which Shourd said was the “lifeblood” of the campaign. The Star Tribune reports Shourd said she and Bauer plan to marry May 5 in California.